It's summertime! Finally. The sun is coming back and we can enjoy spending more time outside.
This also means I get a lot of questions regarding 'can I use your macrame ropes outside as well'? so I thought, I might as well write a blog post about it!
Most of our macrame rope is made of 100% cotton or a 90% cotton - 10%PET mix (so almost all cotton as well). So the question is what happens to cotton outside? And this is obviously not only for the ropes I sell but for all cotton rope out there.
Oh and this blogs talks about making macrame and hanging it outside to stay there. So not a wedding arch that is outside for a few hours or a day as obviously that is not a problem. Or like the macrame chair you see on the first picture (above); this one I made but I store it inside when not in use (note: this picture is taken by Henny Belkom phogography in our garden for a publication in the Dutch magazine Vriendin).
As you all know: if you wash your thick cotton sweater it becomes soaking wet. And unless the sun is shining really bright, it takes a while before it is completely dry. Also, if you wash that same sweater over and over again, it is not looking better and better. Nope, it starts to look eh 'washed'. Old.
Well, it is the same with cotton ropes. If they hang in the rain and get wet, it takes a while before it dries. And the thicker the rope, the longer it takes. What can happen is that if the sun isn't shining nice and bright, it takes a long time to dry. And if that is too long, it could rot from the inside because the core isn't dry. So it's not gonna look prettier and the ropes might eventually break (and yes this can take several years). Something else that could happen, if that the color stains on something close when it gets wet... also a not wanted action right?
Therefore we advise you that you can wash our thinner ropes and yarns but not the thicker ones (from 5 mm up). You can read more about it here.
If you have a cotton pillow laying outside and that pillow is not treated for outside use, after some time, with the sun shining on it, it becomes pale. Colors fade.
Also this happens to cotton ropes, used outside. As it is cotton, not treated for outside use, it slowly fades when it catches sunshine.
I have a planthanger, I made myself of black 6mm twisted cotton rope, hanging outside. It hangs under a roof so it says dry most of the times but it does catch sun. By now, 3 years later, the side that catches most sun, is grey and not black anymore. So yes, this process is not happening overnight but it will happen. Especially with dark or bright colors.
But I could use jute ropes right?
Also jute gets wet. It is thinner so it will dry quicker but also this rope is not surviving forever. If you have colored jute, the color will come off so that's not great either is it?
So, after reading the above, can I yes or not use cotton rope outside?
My answer is: yes you can but be aware that it won't last forever. If you make a planthanger; check it sometimes to see if the rope is not rotten and if the hanger can hold the plant. And if you decide to make a swing of it, check it WAY more often or take it off after use! Needles to say, we are not liable if something happens as you decide what you do with the rope.
Also, you might want to stick to neutral colors so they won't fade too much in color or spoil color (from possible paint in the ropes) on something else.
And when I hang my macrame under a carport or other roof?
Well, this helps in such a way that your macrame piece won't get too wet (it still gets wet a bit because of the early dawn).
Of course, we offer a solution. One that will honor your work AND keeps you (and your little children or animals) safe. Being: use ropes, meant for use outside! Because of course these exist! You need rope with a plastic in it.
And of course you can go to a hardware store and buy a plastic/synthetic rope. Unfortunately, most of the time, these are very ugly looking ropes. Very shiny and in terrible colors. And besides that, they not made for knotting at all! Knots quickly un-knot and don't stay put.
Therefore, we now offer three different kinds of rope that will last way longer if used outside. And not only that, they are great to knot with AND they are cute to the eye as well.
Within our Mediterranean Line, we offer you this beautiful Caramel colored 8mm twisted rope.It is made of polypropyl, making it a perfect material for outside use as it is very durable but still nice to look at as it is not too shiny and it is a great color!
Besides the above mentioned rope, we also offer you this 5 & 8mm, jute looking twisted rope in our Spanish Line, especially made for outdoor use. It is made from 100% recycled polyester and it looks like jute (but it is waaaaay stronger). It is actually pretty soft to the touch. It does not shine and if you don't know, you wouldn't say it is made of plastic. And its color is nice and neutral.
And last but definitely not least: we now also offer a 6 mm BOTTLE MACRAME rope! Yes indeed, this rope is made entirely out of recycled plastic bottles! It comes in four very pretty colors and trust me, you definitely wouldn't say, it is made of plastic. Read all about it here.
So I would say: order them and start making those planthangers, wallhangings or macrame swings for your garden or balcony!